Rhinegold Photo credit: Lyndon Jones

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

David Wulstan (18 January 1937 – 6 May 2017)

3:10, 8th June 2017

Scholar and musician David Wulstan, a pioneer in the performance of Tudor polyphony, has died aged 80.

His research into period performance techniques and his work with the Clerkes of Oxenford, the vocal ensemble he founded in 1961 while a student at Magdalen College, Oxford, has inspired generations of performers.

Wulstan’s reconstruction of the missing part of a partbook by John Sheppard with colleague Roger Bray helped to bring the composer’s music to a wider audience, but his assertion that performances of 16th-century polyphony should be transposed up by a minor third was received as controversial.

Born in Birmingham, Wulstan studied at the Birmingham College of Technology before he attended Magdalen. He studied music, singing in the chapel choir and becoming organ scholar, and went on to hold the post of lecturer at the college between 1968 and 1978. He later taught at the University of Cork and University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University), and in 2006 was elected an honorary fellow of St Peter’s College, Oxford.

His former students include both Harry Christophers and Sally Dunkley, who went on, respectively, to found and perform in The Sixteen.

In addition to his performance activities, Wulstan composed, wrote books and prepared editions of choral works.

A Radio 3 profile from 2013 can be downloaded here.

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